Q&A with Peter Blaney of SignPost Cancer Dx Inc.
CEO & Founder
SignPost Cancer Dx Inc. is validating an extremely accurate breast cancer screen called BreastDefense. SignPost was founded and is managed by Induran Ventures Inc. Induran is a Venture Philanthropy General Partnership. Our projects over the past 25 years have always had a clear benefit to humanity.
Initial discovery of BreastDefense included collaboration with oncologists, surgeons and pathologists at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. SignPost requires $2M to complete validation and commercially launch BreastDefense. With the next round of investment SignPost will locate in the US.
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What is remarkable about SignPost?
SignPost has developed BreastDefense, a molecular diagnostic test, to provide women with an extremely accurate screen for all major subtypes of breast cancer from stage 1 to 4 with 99% accuracy. This is remarkable.
Currently the most common method to screen for breast cancer is mammography, which has error rates of up to 30% false positive and 20% false negative.
There is also a problem of over diagnosis, not to be confused with false positives. Mammograms are image-based tests. Better imaging has resulted in the unintended consequence of finding very small tumours or lesions that may never develop into invasive breast cancer. Even pathologists, using tissue biopsies, cannot always determine which tumors will become invasive. This leads to over treatment, such as radiation, chemotherapy or surgery.
BreastDefense will be able to recognize benign from invasive tumors. BreastDefense has discovered sets of biomarkers which are unique to invasive breast cancers. Using proprietary bio-infomatics and big data, BreastDefense has achieved 99% accuracy for both false positive and false negative. BreastDefense will be a Lab Developed Test (LDT) which does not need FDA approval.
BreastDefense will give women a safe choice when a breast cancer screen is advised by their practitioner.
Would you describe this as a typical biotech play?
This is not a typical biotech play. The science has been done. The results from initial studies show 99% accuracy for identifying all major sub types of breast cancer from stage 1-4. BreastDefense is now an engineering play. Virtually all the new molecular tests coming on the market are LDT’s, allowing for rapid entry to market. LabCorp, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, a world leader in liquid biopsy technology will be contracted to develop the test. SignPost is a virtual company. We are building a product, not a company. This results in maximum efficiency in the use of capital. It also greatly shortens the timelines for product development and market entry. Once BreastDefense is completed, the exit will be either a license or sale. The timeline for development of the tissue test is 6 months followed by the development of the liquid test which is 24 months.
How will you get market penetration?
There is a high level of fear among women about breast cancer. Breast cancer arouses more anxiety in women than other life-threatening diseases. We think market acceptance will be rapid for the following reasons:
• BreastDefense is an alternative for women who have chosen not to get a mammogram because of pain, or exposure to radiation, or fear of misdiagnosis.
• It can be used to confidently monitor remission for breast cancer survivors.
• It can be used in geographic locations where mammogram screening is not in place.
• Radiologists and pathologists will use it to confirm a diagnosis.
• Physicians can protect themselves from the risk of misdiagnosis.
• The test can be licensed in global markets.